Removing Endotracheal Tubes
Orotracheal Tube Overview:
- An endotracheal tube (ET tube) is a flexible plastic tube that is inserted through the mouth into the trachea (windpipe) and attached to a respirator to ensure oxygenation.
- There may be a tube stabilizer made of plastic that adheres to the face or held on with an elastic band around the head.
- The ET tube is held in place by an inflated tracheal cuff (balloon). The visible part is the large port that attaches to a ventilator. Next to the large port is a small port that is used to inflate the cuff.
- It is common to see yellow pulmonary secretions in and around the mouth.
- A nasotracheal tube is the same as an endotracheal tube except that it is inserted through the nose, not the mouth.
- The nasotracheal tube is generally held in place with tape.
- The tube stabilizer that is attached to the face should be removed first. Alcohol can help with removing the adhesive. If it is held on with an elastic band around the head, it can just be pulled off.
- In order for the tube to slide out, the tracheal cuff must be deflated. To do this, cut the cuff inflation tube under the inflation port.
- Do not pull on the tube until the tube is deflated as described above.
- Have someone stabilize the head while tilting it backwards and slowly pull on the tube, which should slide out easily.
- The tube as well as all the secretions should be thrown out.
- If there is blood, commonly at the bottom near the cuff, wipe it onto a cloth and save the cloth. If it is inside the tube, save the section of tube containing blood.